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CHICAGO (CBS) — Round one of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate showdown between Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police and the city is days away from ending.

It is now up to a judge to decide the winner.

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CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov was in court for the latest hearing Thursday, amid a legal back-and-forth between both sides that has been going on for more than two weeks.

The police union is fighting Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s mandate that all city employees report their COVID vaccination status.

On Thursday afternoon, union attorneys asked a judge to step in and stop the mandate – at least pending arbitration.

Police union attorneys argue the issues of reporting vaccination status and even getting a vaccine weren’t properly negotiated per labor law – and should be.

“We have a right to arbitration, and we’re asking you to order it,” a union attorney said.

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But city attorneys argue the matter will eventually go to arbitration – reiterating their belief that the mayor is within her power to issue such mandates, and even blaming the union for taking a month to respond to an August negotiation request.

In the meantime, Chicago FOP President John Catanzara has been urging officers not to comply with the mandate. A city request to extend temporary restraining order forbidding Catanzara from doing so was denied earlier this week by Cook County Judge Cecilia Horan.

By Catanzara’s count, more than 3,000 officers are still holdouts. The city has been slowly placing those non-compliant officers on “no-pay” status.

According to city attorneys Thursday, there are now 31 officers who are not getting paid. City attorneys added there has been a steady stream of officers reporting their vaccination status since the Oct. 15 deadline.

But Catanzara also made it clear, again, that the union’s endgame is to get rid of the city employee vaccine mandate altogether.

Cook County Judge Raymond Mitchell said he will have a decision by Monday afternoon on whether the city must halt the mandate.

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Meanwhile on Friday, a dozen aldermen have called a special City Council hearing to discuss an ordinance that would undo the city employee vaccination mandate altogether. But it is unlikely they would have the votes to do so.

Source: CBS Chicago

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